When it comes to advocating the benefits of music education in the political arena, there is support from both sides of the aisle. There are some who believe that Bill Clinton’s appearance on the late night talk show hosted by Arsenio Hall was the turning point in the election prior to his first term in office. There’s a bi-partisan country and rock band comprised of members of the U.S. House of Representatives headed by Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI). Republican Mike Huckabee, former governor and Presidential candidate plays bass guitar on his FOX talk show and is a strong supporter of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and of music education in general.
In this article and accompanying video, Huckabee explains how music education can build a better America. “The future economy is a creative economy,” said Huckabee. “We’re going to have a strong economy if we have a strong arts emphasis.” The complete video from the Center for American Progress features Kiff Gallagher of Music National Service Initiative/MusicianCorps, Democratic Congressman Joe Crowley, and Huckabee.
If you can endure one of the worst renditions of The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” (remember it’s the benefits from and not the proficiency in music), this is a great speech. Huckabee is one of the most eloquent speakers on the power of the arts.
I particularly like Huckabee’s following points:
- The arts have an inherent diplomatic quality
- Making sure students are educated and not just informed
- We never outgrow the arts
- Employing “Weapons of Mass Instruction” in the quest for global competitiveness (catchy!)
- Direct correlation between arts education and a strong economy
- What we force, we fund (mandate music ed. in state legislatures)
- Purpose of school is not to perpetuate the school, it’s to empower the student
For more info on this topic, see “The Business Case for Playing Music” at NAMM’s “WannaPlayMusic?” website.